Saturday, 22 March 2014

Egg Fried Rice with Vegetables

This is an easy dish, perfect for using left over rice and/or vegetables and a great accompaniment to other Oriental style dishes. If like me you plan to cook rice especially for this dish, cook the rice a few hours before hand and make sure you give the rice enough opportunity to dry out and much as possible. I place it in a large shallow bowl, break it up with a fork and turn it every now and again. One of the secrets to making successful fried rice is to have good rice, which has not been overcooked and has nice, dry separate grains.

50 years ago I tasted my first fried rice in a Chinese restaurant in Oswestry, Shropshire. It was the only thing I could afford on the menu but it was so unlike anything I had ever tasted before. Rice was something my mother made rice pudding with and it was certainly not anything I had experienced in a savoury form. I was 14 years old and I was smitten, I knew that I would no longer be content with the food of my childhood and I would spend time from then trying my best to recreate all manner of food from exotic foreign lands. Decades later I went along to a Chinese restaurant with someone who asked if all the MSG could be left out of the food we were to eat, at that time she believed she was allergic to it. It was then that I realised the fried rice we were eating tasted exactly the same as the rice I had cooked over the years and the one crucial ingredient that had been missing was the MSG. From that time on of course, I have always used it. I buy a vegetable based form from the Chinese supermarket and it's an invaluable ingredient in my pantry. MSG naturally occurs in many vegetables and of course there is lots in parmesan cheese, though the folk who believe themselves to be allergic to it never seem to have the same problem with parmesan.

For this recipe you will need;
650g of cooked rice
200g (roughly) of vegetables, must include spring onions
1 egg, beaten
1 fat clove of garlic finely chopped
100g of mushrooms, I used shitake and portobello
A thumb size piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tablespoon of light flavoured oil
Soy sauce
Umami (MSG)

Begin by preparing whatever vegetables you are using, if for instance you are using flat beans or runner beans, blanch them briefly in boiling water. Pak choi or peppers, will cook sufficiently without blanching.
Slice up the mushrooms and fry gently in the oil in a large pan or wok until they have taken on colour. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger and continue frying for a further 2 or 3 minutes before adding the remaining vegetables. Add the rice and working quickly, keep moving the mixture to ensure all the rice gets heated through. Make a well in the middle of the rice and add the egg, quickly break the egg up and keep moving the mixture around to cook the egg thoroughly. Finally season with soy sauce and umami and serve with chopped fresh coriander

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